FDA Just Made a Huge Move on Hearing Aids

People will be able to get them over the counter, and probably for much cheaper
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 16, 2022 10:42 AM CDT
FDA Just Made a Huge Move on Hearing Aids
   (Getty/AndreyPopov)

(Newser) – As soon as the middle of October, people will be able to walk into a store for the first time and buy over-the-counter hearing aids. It's the result of a rule finalized by the FDA on Tuesday, one expected to have profound effects on the market for such devices—and on people's ability to get help for mild to moderate hearing loss, reports the New York Times. In a statement, the FDA estimates the move could affect 30 million Americans. As things stand now, people must visit a doctor to obtain a prescription, and the average price for the devices is more than $5,000, per the Washington Post. What's more, the cost isn't typically covered by Medicare or insurers.

This move is expected to lead to devices that are far less expensive and perhaps more innovative. "This could fundamentally change technology," Nicholas Reed, an audiologist at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, tells the Times. "We don't know what these companies might come up with. We may literally see new ways hearing aids work, how they look." The new rule, which the Hill notes has been in the works for years, takes effect in 60 days. It stipulates that people can buy the devices "without the need for a medical exam, prescription, or a fitting adjustment by an audiologist," per the FDA. (Read more hearing aid stories.)

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